Federal customs officials =seized around $22 million worth of cocaine hidden inside furniture.
On Nov. 2, 2017, Officials in Philadelphia found over 700 pounds of cocaine inside of bedroom furniture and kitchen cabinets shipped from Puerto Rico, according to The Associated Press.
Officers noticed something unusual about one of the shipping containers and searched the furniture, finding more than 250 bricks of a white substance inside false walls of the furniture. The powdery substance tested positive for cocaine.
According to CBP spokesman Stephen Sapp, imaging equipment showed that the furniture inside the shipment was unusually dense, and detected a bricklike pattern, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
"Customs and Border Protection knows that transnational drug trafficking organizations will take advantage of natural disasters, and in this case an island struggling to recovering from a crippling hurricane, to smuggle dangerous drugs to our nation's mainland," said CBP's Joseph Martella in a statement, according to CBS News.
"CBP officers remain ever vigilant to interdict narcotics loads, and we are pleased to have stopped this deadly poison shipment before it could hurt our communities," Martella added.
"This seizure is an excellent example of how Customs and Border Protection officers leverage imaging technology to detect and intercept an immense amount of cocaine cleverly concealed in a shipment of furniture," said CBP Baltimore Field Operations Director Casey Owen Durst in a press release. "Narcotics interdiction remains an enforcement priority for Customs and Border Protection, and a mission that we take very serious."
An investigation into the drugs is ongoing.
The bust is the second largest cocaine shipment from Puerto Rico that the CBP has seized. Previously, on July 9, 2012, the agency found 386 pounds of cocaine from Puerto Rico concealed throughout a pickup truck.
The discovery was also was the largest drug bust in the Philadelphia area in the past 10 years. On March 8, 2007, officers discovered 864 pounds of cocaine inside of a shipping container from the Dominican Republic.
In August 2016, police in Philadelphia arrested six men in connection with a cocaine seizure worth $23.2 million, according to the Philadelphia Metro. The men were charged with manufacturing, delivery or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity and criminal conspiracy.
"While I'm always pleased when we arrest multiple drug dealers, more importantly we kept this poison off our streets and away from our children -- especially in southeast Pennsylvania where so many people are concentrated," said Attorney General Kathleen Kane at the time.